'Black jails' for petitioners banned

Updated: 2011-12-01 17:12

By Zhao Chenyan (chinadaily.com.cn)

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Security service companies in Beijing will no longer be able to help local governments intercept and detain petitioners who come to the capital to seek redress for alleged official wrongdoing, the Beijing News reported.

The crackdown by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau stipulates all security firms must apply for an authorized license by January 2012 and any found to be running "black jails" will be strictly punished and barred from operating.

The new rules governing the industry also bar the capital's 300,000 private security guards from using signs, vehicles or uniforms connected to the police.

Zhang Bing, vice director of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB), said "Beijing now has a total of more than 300,000 security guards and half of them employed by the companies with no administrative licenses. Some of the security companies currently use their workers to help in debt collection and false imprisonment.

"Zero-interception is to remind the security service companies not to touch the bottom line," Zhang added.

Petitioners often report cases of being kidnapped, beaten and held after travelling to the capital to try to appeal their case to higher levels of government.

Beijing has recently cracked down on several "black jails" for petitioners.

On July 12, a facility located in Beiqijia town in capital's suburbs was closed and 13 petitioners freed.

On Sept 26, Anyuanding Security Service Company, which was commissioned by local governments to intercept and lock up petitioners, was closed down by the PSB and the chairman and general manager were detained.